By Shereen Siewert

Three candidates have emerged for Wausau School Board in the April 2021 election, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

Four current members, Wausau School Board President Tricia Zunker; Vice-President Pat McKee; Beth Martin; and Jeff Leigh are each serving terms that expire on April 26. Leigh was appointed to the board in October, after longtime member Theresa Miles stepped down in August. All four will need to run again if they wish to serve another term.

The three challengers filing papers this week are Karen Vandenberg, a Wausau physical therapist; Jon Creisher, a Rib Mountain director of strategic partnerships for an area manufacturing company; and Dr. Cody Nikolai, a Wausau orthopedic surgeon.

Karen Vandenberg (contributed photo)

“As a member of the Wausau school board, I will be committed to improving the environment for our great teachers and staff so that Wausau can become the preferred district for educators,” said Vandenberg, who works in a short-term rehab setting and has four children with her husband, Steve.

Creisher, who has four children, advocated publicly for a return to in-classroom instruction this fall after the board voted to begin school virtually in the district and spoke several times during board meetings.

“Having attended several board meetings over the last year, I have become concerned about the lack of transparency and open dialog between the board and the parents. I am committed to improving on that,” Creisher said.

Jon Creisher (contributed photo)

Nikolai, a four-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and parent of 13 children, ran for a seat in 2020 but lost by 75 votes.

“My concern is that we stay focused on developing a classical curriculum that will prepare our children to be successful community members, employees, employers and taxpayers,” said Nikolai.

Dr. Cody Nikolai (contributed photo)

The three candidates are the first to declare their candidacy for the board.